Vikings' decision could help AFC West

February, 21, 2011
2/21/11
3:15
PM ET
The Minnesota Vikings' decision to place the franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway could have an effect on the AFC West.

The Vikings’ decision to tag Greenway and not receiver Sidney Rice means the receiver position has gotten even more loaded in free agency. Rice joins strong free-agent receiver class that includes the likes of Braylon Edwards, Malcom Floyd, Santonio Holmes, Steve Breaston, Randy Moss, Santana Moss, Steve Smith (Giants, not Panthers) Terrell Owens and Mike Sims-Walker.

Rice is now at the top of the loaded class.

That should interest Kansas City and Oakland. I could see both teams adding a receiver in free agency. The Chiefs may be more aggressive. They need a No. 2 starter to pair with Dwayne Bowe. I could see Kansas City either spending a lot on a receiver or considering using the No. 21 pick on a receiver.

Oakland will likely look for an older receiver to complement its talented, but raw group of receivers that includes Jacoby Ford, Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Because Oakland likes its young receivers, I’m not sure it would spend big on a receiver but this class is now deeper and Oakland could get a veteran receiver at a better price.

San Diego has to be closely watching the receiver class as well. If Floyd leaves, the Chargers will need a receiver. Rice could be a very interesting fit if the Chargers (who recently put the franchise tag on Vincent Jackson) if they want to spend big money. I can see the Chargers adding at the position (perhaps early in the draft) even if Floyd is re-signed. Keeping Floyd may have gotten easier now that Rice has joined the free-agent class. Rice will likely be more sought after than Floyd, so it the Chargers may have an easier time keeping him if they don’t decide to make a push for Rice.

I don’t see Denver being major factors at the receiver position right now even though young receivers Eddie Royal (hip) and Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) are currently hurt. I think Denver will concentrate on fixing the NFL's worst defense.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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